Wednesday, October 24, 2012

HIIT and A Quest for Quest Bars...

Hey everyone! VMFitness here! Today, I'll be talking about HIIT!

High Intensity Interval Training is GREAT to BLAST FAT, keep those precious muscles, and beat CARDIO BOREDOM

It is basically alternating between burst of INTENSE activity with less intense activity. So your basically BLASTING your heart rate through the roof, then bringing it back down, and repeating the cycle again. This kind of shocks your body and it has actually proven to continue to burn calories throughout the day, known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).
This means you're burning up to 9 x more fat throughout the day, even while lazing on the couch! This is because your body is expending energy to recover from the intense workout you just gave it!
Reasons to incorporate HIIT into your weekly routine:
 beats boredom, 
better benefits in increasing your VO2 max (so you'll gain better endurance), 
makes your body a fat burning furnace the rest of the day, 
more exciting than boring steady state cardio and it DOESN'T put your body in a catabolic state like loongggg cardio does (this means it's not eating your precious muscles), 
and it can be done in a shorter time than steady cardio. 

Would you rather do HIIT for 20 minutes or boring cardio for a whole hour?! Yeah, I thought so.

Now you shouldn't do HIIT EVERY day since it is pretty straining on the body and the joints if done too much! So I'd say incorporate it maybe 3 x a week!

Here are some examples of what I've done for HIIT:

HIIT on the elliptical:
I keep it on level 1 the entire time, but if you want an extraaa burnnn, feel free to up it!
WARM UP: Minutes 0-5
Then I pick it up a notch from minutes 5-8
Move your legs and arms AS FAST AS YOU CAN POSSIBLY GO for 20 seconds, then go at a slower moderate pace for 40 seconds to get your heart rate down.
So this is a :20 active / :40 rest
Repeat as many times as you want! You'll definitely work up a great sweat!

HIIT on the treadmill:
WARMUP: 0-5 minutes
5-8 Minutes Highest incline, speed around 3.5-4 mph - to get that heart rate up!
Bring incline down to about 3 and continue walking for minutes 8-10
Speed 11 - Sprints for 20-30 seconds
Jump your feet to the feet rails on the side and lower the speed to 4
Hop back on and start speed walking or light jogging for 60 seconds
This is a :20 or :30 active / :60 rest
Definitely a killer!
Repeat as many times as you please!

Now the number of reps usually change it up, so I'll just give you a list of what I do in order, and you can figure out your own reps! Remember, get your heart rate UP, and then do something that'll bring it back down, and then UP UP UP again! FAT BLASTER!

Minutes 0-5: Warmup with some jumping jacks, straight kicks, high knees

Mountain Climbers
Tricep Dips
Tuck Jumps
Squat Jumps
Side to side hops
High Knees
Alt. Lunges
Side lunges
Jumping Jacks


You can do these by REPS, orrr you can do it by time!
For example: As many as you can each activity for :30 secs, or 20 reps each. Your choice :]

So those are just a few short examples!
I'll try and update with more fun routines for you guys in the future!

------------------------------------------ Now time for the review....


What do you think of when I shout those words?


WELL, what if I told you, you thought wrong?!


have come to the rescue. They've managed to make the above flavors and MORE into HEALTHY, CLEAN EATING, PROTEIN PACKED, DELICIOUSLY WONDERFUL BARS.
Crazy, ridiculous, AMAZING?! Yeah I know.

Here's what the company claims:

Quest bars were designed for anyone who cares about good nutrition and a leaner body.That's really all it takes to become part of the Quest team. It doesn't matter what your specific quest is, just that you have one. So, whether you're trying to lose a beer belly to pick up more chicks, trying to get SHREDDED and lean for a competition, or you're looking to add some lean muscle mass so you can whoop Michael Phelps' ass the next time you see him down at the Y. Quest Bars are going to give you exactly what you need to be successful at any goal you strive for.The funny thing is, there is no big mystery to good nutrition and dieting. Most people know roughly what they should be eating. It's just that there isn't much on the market that offers great nutrition, great taste and convenience in one energy bar. So, for those of you looking for a low-carb snack that's actually healthier than your regular meals, Quest has exactly what you're looking for.
And best of all, you can try Quest Protein Bars risk free. We're so certain that you're going to LOVE it, that if you don't agree that it is the world's GREATEST low carb protein bar, we'll give you your money back. Go on, try one. It's the nutrition bar you've been looking for.

If you're looking to get leaner, our bars let you do just that - with the added convenience of being able to quickly get a meal on the go. As the only truly low carb bar on the market that's made with real food ingredients. Plus, many customer's have used the world's easiest diet plan by simply replacing one or more meals with a Quest Bar. It's the easiest and most delicious way you'll ever lose body fat.
Quest Bars will also curb your hunger more effectively than most foods. Because they are packed with fiber, you'll find that they are very filling. The natural fats and proteins will further keep your appetite satisfied for hours - making sure that you can easily stay away from eating higher calorie, less nutritious fare.

If you're trying to add muscle, about the only thing that everyone can agree on is that you're going to need protein to do it. Getting in the
right amount of protein isn't easy - especially if you're on the run or don't have time to prepare your own meals. Getting in your protein without taking in a lot of extra calories is very difficult if you're not preparing your own meals and Quest Bars help you get in the protein you need while keeping the calories down . And by almost eliminating carb calories - we help ensure that the pounds you do put on are muscle - not fat.
Adding muscle is hard work but eating Quest Bars will make the job just a bit easier because you'll actually look forward to eating them.

Q: Why do your bars have so few carbs?
A: As most people know, if you want to stay healthy, lose fat or build LEAN, fat-free muscle, you must control your carb intake. That's why we've worked so hard to create bars with so few grams of available carbohydrates (almost all of Quest Bar's carbs come from inert fiber which helps keep you full but doesn't skyrocket your insulin levels.)
Q: If low carb food is the key to my success, why do other nutrition bars have so many carbs or sugar alcohols?
A: Because until now, there was no other way to make a bar that tasted good and didn't rot on the shelf. We had to create a process so unique that we protected it by filing a patent. That's why you won't see any other bars like ours on the market. Quest is the first truly low carb bar with no simple carbs or harmful sugar alcohols. A perfect meal in your pocket!

Sounds too good to be true right? SO I just HAD to try these out myself and see if they lived up to the hype!
And ohhhh did they... yes.. they did.

This is how I conducted the taste test! I broke the bar in half, ate one straight from the wrapper, and the other I heated in the microwave for 10 seconds. Try not to heat them any longer than that, or they'll get crispy and crunchy and kind of hard in the middle! I may have accidentally done that why I was having my trial and error of good microwave times. 

All the bars were pretty chewy, and had a bit of a grainy texture to them, but I'm not complaining, because they were all FREAKING DELICIOUSSSSS!
The warmed up ones were real nice because the flavor was more mouth watering/engulfing.
Vanilla Almond Crunch– Love love loveeee. Almonds and vanilla are such a delicious combination! Sweet vanilla flavor that just engulfs your whole mouth, and a delicious and awesome crunch from the nuts! Perfect!

Chocolate Brownie– Oh man, so happy Quest included 2 of these babies in the sample box! Tastes like a mixture of a brownie/fudge/dark chocolate cake deliciousness. Imagine your favorite chocolatey dessert - and this will be a close 2nd to it.

Peanut Butter Supreme– OH...MY...PEANUT BUTTER... If you know me, you KNOW I loved this one, why? Because I'm a PEANUT BUTTER ADDICT! It's ridiculous how much I'm addicted to nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc. This definitely hit the spot and did not disappoint. It tasted like a bar made out of straight up peanut butter! What's not to love?!?! I now have a new addiction....

Coconut Cashew– ONE OF MY FAVORITES! I love coconuts AND cashews [because it's a nut, DUH], and man this just tasted so light and tropical and delicious! It also had REAL coconut flakes in it! I almost felt like I was in paradise while eating this.

Peanut Butter and Jelly– IT'S PEANUT BUTTA JELLY TIMEEEE. ANOTHER favorite. Why? YOU GUESSED IT - because of the peanut butter DERRR. The delicious combination of peanut butter and jelly, a CLASSIC.
Apple Pie– Mmm apple pie. Sinfully delicious, but not as a protein bar! It had read pieces of apple in it too and a strong hint of cinnamon. Delicious! Mm, warmed up with maybe a side of some healthy banana ice cream? YES PLEASE. Ahh...

Chocolate Peanut Butter– Of course, once again, you know my #nutbutteraddiction..... I wish this had more of a peanut butter taste! It did have a stronger chocolate taste, but overall, STILL yummy!

Mixed Berry Bliss– I actually liked this flavor a lot! When I first saw it in the box I was like, ehh, look at all these other amazing flavors with titles that are legit #foodporn, and then here's this fruity berry bar? Eh, might not be as awesome as these other decadent sinless bars. But I was WRONG. It was so fresh, delicious, and light, and had real chunks of berries! And it was also nutty with some almonds and peanuts! Had this as a snack before one of my big midterms in school, definitely hit the spot and gave me enough energy to focus for my test!
Strawberry Cheesecake MMM, Cheesecake, sounds so delicious, so yummy, so fattening! NOT THIS ONE, because it's low carb and jack full of protein! And this yummy bar has real bits of strawberry in it, YUM! Like I was eating one of those cheesecakes from Costco or something!
Cinnamon Roll– Great cinnamon flavor! Of course it doesn't taste EXACTLY like America's favorite Cinnabon, but it is a great close alternative for those of us on that healthy clean eating lifestyle! Surprisingly, there were also some little chunks of nuts in here. From the ingredients, looks like they were almonds! Didn't expect that to be in the cinnamon roll flavor, but it was a great texture!
Lemon Cream Pie– This was definitely a nice fresh taste! Strong lemon citrus taste, but sweet and light like a cream flavor! Simple and delicious. Almost tasted like a Key lime [or lemon] pie!

Overall Review:
All of their bars are simply DELICIOUS.
They taste so guilty and unhealthy for you, but the best part is, THEY'RE ABSOLUTELY NOT!
So beneficial, great source of protein, low carbs, great for weight loss or muscle gaining. Totally GUILT-FREE! So I can have cheesecake and peanut butter jellies and pies?!
YES, yes you can.
They all have a chewy stick to your teeth-save for later- deliciousness that keeps you wanting more. 

So WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!! Get some of these AMAZING and SUPER YUMMY Quest Protein Bars. You seriously will NOT regret it. And if you do, feel free to send them my way.... ;] Just kidding... or am I?

Thank you so much to those over at Quest Nutrition for sending me this lovely package to sample and review! Seriously going to buy in bulk very soon.... :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Don'tchyawanna ARTISANA?

Artisana - The Art of Healthy Food

Artisana was gracious enough to send me a huge package of samples to review for you all! These are some AMAZING, CLEAN EATING nut butters people! No artificial flavors or sugars, only the finest nuts and seeds, all organic! Can it get any better than that?! I DIDN'T THINK SO.

Nut butters are so beneficial to your health! They reduce the risk of heart disease by helping blood vessel elasticity and lessen plaque accumulation. They also lower that pesky bad cholesterol, LDL, and the C-reactive protein (CRP). Coconuts also reduce LDL cholesterol, help balance female hormones, and assist in weight loss (can I hear a BOOYA?!) So what are you waiting for? GET ON THESE SUPER FOODS! DON'T FEAR THE FATS!

Here's what the company claims about their products!

ArtisanaTM - The Art of Healthy Food

Creating unique, delicious, healthy, gourmet food is a work of passion for us, blending together nuts and seeds like the vibrant colors of an artist's palette. Handmade with care, our organic foods are crafted using a temperature controlled process that preserves the life-essential fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and enzymes.

What makes our Nut Butters so special?

Taste - Simply put, they are amazingly delicious.
Unique variety- In addition to our superior Almond Butter and Tahini, we offer unique varieties: Walnut Butter, Pecan Butter, Cashew Butter, and Macadamia/Cashew Butter. Our coconut products include the ever popular Coconut Butter and it's related Cacao Bliss, as well as our Extra Virgin Pure Coconut Oil.
Fresh - We hand select only the finest new harvest nuts, seeds and coconut for our butters. Our almonds and walnuts are the best California has to offer.
Quality - All of our nut and seed butters are hand crafted in small batches in Oakland, CA with careful attention to detail using strict food safety protocols.
Organic - We only use 100% certified organic nuts, seeds, and coconut meat which means no toxic pesticides, chemicals, or genetically modified organisms. (Certified by QAI)

Pure - We don't add any extra ingredients. No oil, sugar, preservatives or artificial flavors - Nothing. Which means that all you get is the clean, fresh taste of nuts and seeds the way nature intended.
Raw - Our raw products are made into puree with a temperature controlled process.

This means that all of the enzymes, proteins and vitamins are intact, in their natural state and fully utilized by the body. Powerful - Forget caffeine! Packed with energy-laden nutrients, our nut butters are a great source of sustained energy. Healthy - Nuts and seeds in the form that we make them - totally raw and organic and processed into butter (purée) - are among the most basic and healthy foods one can eat on the planet, offering to the consumer:
  • Non-animal proteins and enzymes
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Essential fatty-acids (including Omega-3, of which Walnut butter has the most)
  • Fiber in all products more readily digestible than whole nuts...making them truly whole foods.
  • Certified Kosher (KSA)
Made in a facility that processes tree nuts, but does not process any peanuts, gluten, dairy or soy

So here's my review on each of the wonderful flavors I received!

Coconut Butter - SO DELICIOUS! This is made from the actual flesh of the coconut, so it has a very great flavor! And it just melts right in your mouth! And this is just from trying it alone! I can't wait to combine it with other delicious foods!

Coconut Oil - Mm I always love cooking with Coconut oil because of all the awesome benefits it has for you from its fats! And the light aroma and taste of coconut in my meals is delicious too :) Artisana's coconut oil tastes just like that! It has a light taste of coconut but it so so delicious! I decided to cook it with some eggs and it gave it a tropical hint :)

Cacao Bliss - Who doesn't love some Cacao goodness? This tastes JUST LIKE AN ALMOND JOY CANDY to me! Because it's a mixture of Cacao and Coconut! Such a great combination, and it was delicious. This is the lowest calories out of the samples I received, with 177 calories per one grab and go packet!

The above three do have coconut in them, so that means it will most likely be hard if in a cooler temperature room. Do NOT try and microwave the packets or they'll explode! learned that the hard way! Just run it under some warm water or rub it between your hands to get it all creamy and spready!

Cashew Butter - I've heard this Cashew Butter is ADDICTING. And man were people right. It is so thick, smooth, and creamy, and the cashew flavor is so sweet and mouth watering. It's also the second lowest caloric wise of their nut butters, with 183 calories! And a great source for Iron!

Almond Butter - You all KNOW my addiction to almond butter! And Artisana DID NOT DISAPPOINT! It has that same great taste as all other natural almond butters! Grainy texture and almondy, and oh so beneficial for you! This nut butter is also a great source of Protein!!

These next three flavors are all made with cashews as well! Macadamia Butter - Macadamia! I love them, in anything and everything! By themselves, in white chocolate macadamia cookies... (SH!) and now I have a new love of it - in BUTTER FORM! You can taste the bits of macadamia and the flavor of the cashew mixed together and it has a nice sweet flavor!

Pecan Butter - Pecans are so yummy! They're my parents' favorite kinds of nuts to munch on! Now I gotta show them this! It has SUCH a great pecan taste, and again you can taste the little chunks of it in the butter, and the cashew give it a nice sweet and creamy feel as well! 

Walnut Butter - Walnut Butter, a nut butter I have never tried! And let me tell you - OH MY. It's a good source of Omega-3 and tastes amazing! The walnuts gave it that grainy texture but the cashew kept it nice and creamy. 

Overall Review:
I loved the coconut flavors: Coconut Oil, Coconut Butter, and Cacao Bliss because of their high fiber and amazing tropical flavor! And it's awesome that the Cacao tastes like one of my favorite candies :P
The best part of their nut butters was that I could taste the little chunks of the actual nuts in the packages! So great, so natural and artificial free, and organic! And the flavors were all so nutty and intense, grainy crunchy and creamy, overall PARTY IN MY MOUTH!

Cacao Bliss
Cashew Butter
Pecan Butter

Where can you get these AMAZING products?! Check your local natural/organic health food store or market! If not, you can order some online here!
You can buy them in jars or in their convenient on-the-go packaging! They have 1.19 oz squeeze packs which are SO great for if you're in a hurry, on the run, going to class or work! Very convenient for those that don't have much time to pack up their meals! And so mess free! All you have to do is squeeze out the fatty goodness!

Like them on Facebook too to get current updates on the company!